Ubuntu 17.10 - finding files in activity overview


First, let me thank everyone involved for the great job you’ve all done on the GNOME transition. The communication and delivery were both excellent.

I’m wondering whether I’ve done something strange to my 17.10 install since I am unable to locate individual files from the Activities overview. For example, I hit ‘Super’ and type ‘letter’, expecting to see my recently created ‘letter.odt’ but I’m not presented with any individual files; only applications and settings.

My search settings are here:

Am I alone with this? I’m unfamiliar with GNOME outside its use in Ubuntu so perhaps this is the expected behaviour?


Run this command in a terminal, then log out and log back in:

sudo apt install tracker

Tracker is not installed by default in Ubuntu 17.10 because of concerns about performance.


Thanks for the explanation!

Having read the bug report, I’ve decided against installing tracker. Since tracker cannot index immediately, it’s probably not worth the performance hit to have it indexing, regardless of how small that hit may be.

Instead, I’ll simply change my workflow to search for individual files and folders from nautilus; I’ll use Activities overview for programs and settings.

Thanks again.


Catfish (which can be installed through Ubuntu Software, which is installed by default on Xubuntu as Thunar lacks search (if I remember correctly)) works well to find files. But I am sure it just same as doing a search through Nautilus.

Install gnome-search-tool, it works great. This is one of those things Gnome does terribly compared to Unity and KDE, default search does not search for files on my partitions and if I use tracker to index everything the performance is terrible. Unity dash is far superior and KDE’s Baloo takes seconds to index all my partitions (I turn off file indexing), also tracker on Gnome has no way of being configured NOT to index file contents or at least I havent found any configuration files for that and tracker GUI has been deprecated for a while. What I was able to find in a single click on Unity dash now I need to jump through hoops to achieve, namely I need to open Gnome Search Tool, select the file system and then enter the search term, sure it doesnt take very long, but when I am used to Unity dash effectiveness this is an inferior solution plus there are no thumbnails in the search results like in Unity dash. I hope this can be resolved somehow, I have no idea why Gnome developers dont have easy configuration of tracker available in System Settings because KDE allows for fast and easy configuration of Baloo, I can choose exactly which partitions I want to index and whether I want to index file contents or not.

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I had the same issue but I already have tracker installed… It doesn’t seem to work the integration between tracker and gnome-shell.

After you have install tracker as @jbicha said, you can run
tracker daemon
to start tracker indexing and see % of file indexed.

As default, tracker index some folder under yuour home directory (like documents, music… but not all home folder).
To see the default directories or to modify them install
sudo apt install dconf-editor
and go to
then restart tracker daemon.

You have to enable it after installing;

tracker daemon -s